Broadway diva Idina Menzel has said
musicals Rent and Wicked gave gay kids permission to be
The 40-year-old Menzel, who currently
guest stars on Fox's Glee as teacher Shelby Corcoran, first
gained notoriety playing lesbian Maureen Johnson in the Broadway
musical Rent, a role which she reprised in the big screen
adaption of the play. She went on to win a Tony Award for her
portrayal of Elphaba in the Broadway musical Wicked.
In a wide-ranging interview with gay
Advocate, Menzel said that Rent – and to a lesser
degree Wicked – were celebrations of being true to yourself.
“After seeing [Rent],
young [gay] kids would write me letters saying they saw themselves in
these characters and how grateful they were that we were celebrating
them. This show gave many of them permission to be who they were.
Wicked sort of carries on in that same tradition. It's not
necessarily about whether or not you're gay, but it's about finding
who you are and celebrating that. So, while it wasn't something I
was necessarily planning on, I really took notice and understood that
these people confiding in me was a gift, so I want to be as vocal as
I can be for all those who sat in the audience and made me feel so
PBS on Saturday will broadcast Idina
Menzel Live: Barefoot at the Symphony, the
music from which will be available Tuesday on iTunes.